Centralized-Sanctioning and Legitimate Authority in Public Goods Provision: Evidence from a 'Lab-in-The-Field' Experiment in Uganda

39 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2011

See all articles by Guy Grossman

Guy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania

Delia Baldassarri

Princeton University - Department of Sociology; Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This paper uses an innovative methodological framework, which combines "lab-in-the-field" experiments with observational data on 1,543 producers from 50 Ugandan farmer associations, to address the debate on the role sanctioning plays in fostering public goods provision. The experimental setup allows us to attest the positive impact of centralized-sanctioning institutions on cooperative behavior as well as to demonstrate that the size of this effect depends on the process by which these institutions are established: we show that elected leaders have greater legitimacy than randomly selected ones, elicit greater compliance, and lead to higher public goods provision. To assess the external validity of our findings, we relate our subjects’ behavior in the experiment to their level of cooperation in the farmer organization and show that farmers' deference to authority in the controlled setting predicts cooperative behavior in their natural environment, in which they face a similar social dilemma.

Keywords: Public Goods Experiment, Legitimacy, Centralized Sanctioning Authority, External Validity

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Guy and Baldassarri, Delia, Centralized-Sanctioning and Legitimate Authority in Public Goods Provision: Evidence from a 'Lab-in-The-Field' Experiment in Uganda. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1776139 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1776139

Guy Grossman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 S. 36th Street
Perelman Center for Political Science and Economic
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
(215) 898-4209 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://web.sas.upenn.edu/ggros/

Delia Baldassarri

Princeton University - Department of Sociology ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

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